May 29 2014

Discounted Tickets to SeaWorld and Busch Gardens

I mentioned the Daily Getaways promotions in yesterday’s post but have otherwise not written about them as I think many of the “deals” are mediocre (and a few are downright rip-offs).

However, tomorrow’s deal, which offers discounted tickets to SeaWorld and Busch Gardens, can provide good value.

SeaWorld offer

Here’s a summary of the deals and how they compare to the prices offered by the theme parks themselves.

SeaWorld tickets for $49 each ($44.10 if paying with an American Express Card)

The deal:

  • One single-day admission ticket for an adult or child to your choice of SeaWorld Orlando, SeaWorld San Diego or SeaWorld San Antonio.
  • Expires May 15, 2015.
  • No blackout dates.
  • Can purchase up to 6 tickets.

Price comparison:

  • SeaWorld Orlando’s website currently shows $80 for an any-day ticket and $65 for a weekday ticket.
  • SeaWorld San Diego’s website shows $64 for an any-day ticket and $50 for a weekday ticket. However, these appear to be limited-time tickets that expire Dec. 25, 2014 and Sep. 30, 2014, respectively. (The Daily Getaways ticket expires May 15, 2015.)
  • SeaWorld San Antonio’s website shows a web offer of $45 for an adult ticket (normally $65) and $35 for a child ticket (normally $55), but those tickets expire August 17, 2014.

Busch Gardens tickets for $45 each ($40.50 if paying with an American Express card)

The deal:

  • One single-day admission ticket for an adult or child to your choice of Busch Gardens Florida or Busch Gardens Virginia.
  • Expires May 15, 2015.
  • No blackout dates.
  • Can purchase up to 6 tickets.

Price comparison:

  • The Virginia location’s website currently shows tickets for $72 (adult) and $62 (child).
  • The Florida location’s website currently shows $80 for an any-day ticket and $65 for a weekday ticket. However, the any-day ticket includes a free second visit:

Busch Gardens Tampa

 

Things to keep in mind

The sale starts tomorrow (May 30th) at 1:00pm ET. There is a fixed quantity available, so if you’re afraid of missing out then I would be at the computer before it starts.

There is a 10% discount for paying with an American Express card, so be sure to pay with one if at all possible.

Many of these parks offer multi-day tickets. If you’re planning to go for more than one day, be sure to do the math to see if these Daily Getaways tickets still make sense for you.

Sales are final so I wouldn’t buy these unless you’re sure you’ll use them.

May 28 2014

Ways to Earn IHG Rewards Points

After yesterday’s post about InterContinental Hotels Group’s new list of PointBreaks properties, with hotel rooms available for roughly $35 worth of points per night, I was asked for suggestions on ways to obtain IHG points.

So, here ya go!

Transfer Chase credit card points

Some Chase cards earn Ultimate Rewards points that are transferable to various airline and hotel partners – IHG Rewards Club among them.

UR xf partners
Some Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners

Since points transfer at a 1:1 ratio, this is generally not a good value (to me, an Ultimate Rewards point is worth $0.017 while an IHG Rewards point only $0.007). However, if you just need a small amount to top off your IHG account for a redemption it can make practical sense.

Get a co-branded credit card

The IHG Rewards Club Select credit card currently offers a 60,000 point bonus after you charge $1,000 on the card in the first 3 months. (There is also a non-public offer of 80,000 points which isn’t too hard to find by Googling, but just be warned that if the points don’t post after you used an offer you weren’t targeted for you might have an uphill battle getting them.)

I personally have (and really like) the card. While it has a $49 annual fee (which is waived the first year), I get more than enough value to justify the fee.

As a card holder, each year I receive a free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property. I redeemed my last one for a night at a hotel where the “retail” price exceeded $800/night.

The card also provides Platinum elite status with IHG, has no foreign transaction fees, and gives a 10% rebate on points redemptions. So if I redeem 40,000 points for a free night, I get 4,000 of them back.

Purchase points from Daily Getaways

Daily Getaways, a program from American Express and the US Travel Association, offers various travel packages at “discounted” prices. On June 5th, IHG Rewards points will be offered in various increments:

  • 100,000 points for $630
  • 50,000 points for $325
  • 25,000 points for $167
  • 15,000 points for $100

(These packages were also available from Daily Getaways on May 26th. Some of those are still available for purchase at this writing.)

There is a 10% discount if paying with an American Express card. Assuming you buy the 50,000 point package and get the 10% discount, you’re paying $293 for 50,000 points, or just under $0.006/point.

It’s not a bad deal because, to me, a point is worth about $0.007 (far less than what Daily Getaways claims it’s worth, by the way). However, you are converting a liquid asset (cash) into a very illiquid one (points with little value outside the loyalty program). So personally I would not speculatively buy points, but I could see it making sense if you have a specific redemption in mind.

Also remember the points may take up to 10 business days to post. By then, the property you want may be sold out of PointBreaks nights for this round.

Earn them the old-fashioned way

As with most hotel loyalty programs, you earn points for every dollar spent on hotel charges. (And elites earn additional bonus points.)

Clearly it’s ridiculous to pay for hotel nights just to earn points. But if you travel and need hotel nights anyway, it makes sense to “play the game” wisely and maximize your earnings.

For example, by participating in a (now-expired) promotion, I earned 170,000 points for about $0.002 (2 tenths of one cent) each.

Indirectly “buy” points

There is an indirect way to obtain points for $0.007 each. For this to work, you need to already have at least 5,000 points in your IHG account.

HI PDX

Here’s how the trick works:

  • Find an IHG hotel (any IHG hotel) that can be booked for 5,000 points + $70, such as this one (pictured above).
  • Book this “points & cash” reservation. Make sure it is a booking that can be cancelled without penalty! (Click on “view rate details” or something to that effect to see the cancellation policy.)
  • Cancel the booking. The $70 paid will not be refunded in cash. Rather, it will be refunded in the form of 10,000 points. (The original 5,000 points will also be returned for a total refund of 15,000 points.)
  • This method effectively buys 10,000 points for $70, or $0.007/point.

Caveat: I mention this trick because I know it’s commonly used, but I would advise caution. While I did not see the practice explicitly disallowed in the T&Cs (to the contrary, the terms specifically state that cancelled points & cash bookings will be refunded entirely with points), you don’t want to risk having your account shut down for abuse.

Did I miss anything? Leave a comment or drop me a note with further questions or if you have additional suggestions. Enjoy using the points (wisely!).

Category: IHG, Tips | LEAVE A COMMENT
May 27 2014

New IHG PointBreaks Hotels Now Bookable – 5,000 Points/Night

Every few months, InterContinental Hotels Group releases a new list of PointBreaks® – reward nights offered at the deeply discounted rate of 5,000 points per night. A new list came out today, valid for booking through July 31, 2014.

The list can be found here, and I have pasted it below for convenience.

Among the 100+ properties in each round, there are often gems to be found – a handful or so of InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, and Hotel Indigo properties which normally require up to 50,000 points/night. These tend to book up very quickly and are often gone the same day the list is released.

But realistically, any of the properties on the list is a gem if it happens to coincide with your travel plans. Even if “just” a Holiday Inn Express or Candlewood Suites property, a room at any of these can be a steal at 5,000 points/night – especially in a location and on a date where you already need a hotel night anyway.

I value an IHG Rewards point at $0.007, so using 5,000 points is like spending $35 for a hotel night. [Update: see this post for ways to earn IHG points.]

CP San Jose Costa Rica
The Crowne Plaza San Jose Corobici

United States

ALABAMA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS CLANTON
HOLIDAY INN BIRMINGHAM – HOOVER
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MOBILE/SARALAND

ARKANSAS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES HARRISON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES SEARCY

ARIZONA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS PINETOP

CALIFORNIA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CORNING
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES GOLD MINERS INN
– GRASS VALLEY

STAYBRIDGE SUITES PALMDALE
CROWNE PLAZA SILICON VALLEY N – UNION CITY

COLORADO
STAYBRIDGE SUITES DENVER TECH CENTER
CANDLEWOOD SUITES GRAND JUNCTION NW

DELAWARE
STAYBRIDGE SUITES WILMINGTON-NEWARK

FLORIDA
HOLIDAY INN JACKSONVILLE E 295 BAYMEADOWS
HOLIDAY INN SARASOTA-LAKEWOOD RANCH

GEORGIA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ATLANTA NW
– POWDER SPRINGS

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ROME

IOWA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS PELLA
HOLIDAY INN HOTEL AND SUITES DES MOINES-NORTHWEST

IDAHO
CANDLEWOOD SUITES BOISE – TOWNE SQUARE

ILLINOIS
HOLIDAY INN HOTEL AND SUITES BOLINGBROOK
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS HIGHLAND
CANDLEWOOD SUITES BLOOMINGTON-NORMAL
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES JACKSONVILLE
HOTEL INDIGO CHICAGO-VERNON HILLS

INDIANA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ELKHART-SOUTH
CANDLEWOOD SUITES INDIANAPOLIS – SOUTH
CANDLEWOOD SUITES MERRILLVILLE

KANSAS
CANDLEWOOD SUITES KANSAS CITY

KENTUCKY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS CARROLLTON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES SHELBYVILLE

LOUISIANA
HOLIDAY INN HOUMA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS LEESVILLE-FT. POLK

MASSACHUSETTS
HOLIDAY INN BERKSHIRES
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES SWANSEA

MARYLAND
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES SALISBURY – DELMAR
HOLIDAY INN SOLOMONS-CONF CENTER & MARINA

MAINE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES FREEPORT – BRUNSWICK AREA

MICHIGAN
HOLIDAY INN BIG RAPIDS

MINNESOTA
STAYBRIDGE SUITES EAGAN ARPT SOUTH – MALL AREA

MISSOURI
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS FULTON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES HANNIBAL

MISSISSIPPI
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CLEVELAND
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES PHILADELPHIA-CHOCTAW

MONTANA
STAYBRIDGE SUITES GREAT FALLS

NORTH CAROLINA
HOLIDAY INN HOTEL AND SUITES RALEIGH-CARY (I-40 @WALNUT ST)
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES FAYETTEVILLE NW-SPRING LAKE

NEBRASKA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES BELLEVUE (OMAHA AREA)
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES NORFOLK

NEW HAMPSHIRE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS DURHAM – UNH

NEW JERSEY
CANDLEWOOD SUITES BORDENTOWN-TRENTON
HOLIDAY INN EAST WINDSOR
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MOUNT ARLINGTON
– ROCKAWAY AREA

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES VINELAND MILLVILLE

NEW MEXICO
STAYBRIDGE SUITES ALBUQUERQUE NORTH
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CLOVIS

NEVADA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS FALLON
STAYBRIDGE SUITES RENO

NEW YORK
CANDLEWOOD SUITES BUFFALO AMHERST
HOLIDAY INN AUBURN-FINGER LAKES REGION
CANDLEWOOD SUITES WATERTOWN-FORT DRUM
HOLIDAY INN JOHNSTOWN-GLOVERSVILLE
HOLIDAY INN UTICA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS ROCHESTER – GREECE

OHIO
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS CELINA
HOLIDAY INN CLEVELAND-AIRPORT
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS COLUMBUS – DUBLIN
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS MIDDLETOWN
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES NAPOLEON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CLEVELAND
– STREETSBORO

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES WAUSEON

OKLAHOMA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES OKMULGEE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES VINITA

OREGON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MEDFORD
– CENTRAL POINT

HOLIDAY INN PORTLAND-GRESHAM
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ONTARIO

PENNSYLVANIA
HOLIDAY INN ALLENTOWN CENTER CITY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CHAMBERSBURG
HOLIDAY INN JOHNSTOWN-DOWNTOWN
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS MT PLEASANT- SCOTTDALE
HOLIDAY INN WARREN (KINZUA DAM-ALLEGHENY)

RHODE ISLAND
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES SMITHFIELD
– PROVIDENCE

SOUTH CAROLINA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CAMDEN-I20 (HWY 521)
CANDLEWOOD SUITES COLUMBIA-FT. JACKSON

SOUTH DAKOTA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ABERDEEN
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES STURGIS

TENNESSEE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS HURRICANE MILLS (WAVERLY)
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MEMPHIS SOUTHWIND
STAYBRIDGE SUITES KNOXVILLE OAK RIDGE

TEXAS
HOLIDAY INN AMARILLO WEST MEDICAL CENTER
STAYBRIDGE SUITES BROWNSVILLE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ENNIS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES HEARNE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES HOUSTON NW
BELTWAY 8-WEST ROAD

CROWNE PLAZA SAN ANTONIO AIRPORT
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES AUSTIN SW
– SUNSET VALLEY

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES VIDOR SOUTH

UTAH
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS HEBER CITY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES TOOELE

VIRGINIA
STAYBRIDGE SUITES CHESAPEAKE – VIRGINIA BEACH
CROWNE PLAZA HAMPTON-MARINA
STAYBRIDGE SUITES QUANTICO-STAFFORD
HOLIDAY INN PATRIOT-WILLIAMSBURG

WASHINGTON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CHENEY
HOLIDAY INN YAKIMA

WISCONSIN
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ANTIGO
STAYBRIDGE SUITES MILWAUKEE AIRPORT SOUTH
CANDLEWOOD SUITES MADISON – FITCHBURG
CROWNE PLAZA MILWAUKEE AIRPORT
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES STEVENS POINT

WEST VIRGINIA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS NEWELL-CHESTER WV
HOLIDAY INN WEIRTON

WYOMING
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES TORRINGTON

 

Europe

BELGIUM

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS ANTWERP CITY – NORTH

FINLAND
HOLIDAY INN TURKU

FRANCE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS ARRAS
HOLIDAY INN TOULON – CITY CENTRE

GERMANY
HOLIDAY INN FRANKFURT AIRPORT – NORTH
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS SINGEN

ITALY
HOLIDAY INN GENOA CITY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS MILAN – MALPENSA AIRPORT

LITHUANIA
CROWNE PLAZA VILNIUS

ROMANIA
CROWNE PLAZA BUCHAREST

SPAIN
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS BARCELONA – MONTMELO
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS VITORIA

TURKEY
HOLIDAY INN BURSA

UNITED KINGDOM
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS BRADFORD CITY CENTRE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS CANTERBURY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS DONCASTER
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS GLENROTHES
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS KETTERING
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS LICHFIELD
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS PETERBOROUGH
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS RAMSGATE – MINSTER
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS STEVENAGE

 

Asia

INDIA
HOLIDAY INN RESORT GOA

JAPAN
CROWNE PLAZA ANA UBE

THAILAND
CROWNE PLAZA BANGKOK LUMPINI PARK

 

Middle East & Africa

EGYPT

HOLIDAY INN CAIRO – CITYSTARS

OMAN
CROWNE PLAZA RESORT SALALAH

SOUTH AFRICA
CROWNE PLAZA JOHANNESBURG – THE ROSEBANK

 

 Central & South America

ARGENTINA

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS ROSARIO

COSTA RICA
CROWNE PLAZA SAN JOSE COROBICI
HOTEL INDIGO SAN JOSE FORUM COSTA RICA

PANAMA
HOLIDAY INN PANAMA CANAL

 

 Mexico

CROWNE PLAZA TUXTLA GUTIERREZ

CROWNE PLAZA MEXICO CITY NORTH-TLALNEPANTLA
STAYBRIDGE SUITES GUADALAJARA EXPO
HOLIDAY INN HERMOSILLO

 

 Canada

ALBERTA

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS GRANDE PRAIRIE

NEW BRUNSWICK
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MONCTON

ONTARIO
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES BRAMPTON
CROWNE PLAZA HAMILTON HOTEL & CONF CENTER
STAYBRIDGE SUITES OAKVILLE-BURLINGTON

QUEBEC
HOLIDAY INN LAVAL – MONTREAL
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CENTRE-VILLE DOWNTOWN

 

 Oceania

AUSTRALIA

HOLIDAY INN TOWNSVILLE

FIJI
HOLIDAY INN SUVA

Category: IHG | LEAVE A COMMENT
May 25 2014

Weekend Roundup of Travel News & Deals

Welcome to the (unofficial) start of summer! Amid your weekend festivities, please bear in mind the meaning of Memorial Day and take a moment to remember those who served.

I received an email from Cunard Line about their military cruise benefit and wanted to pass it along as a reminder that such discounts are often available (though not always broadly advertised) with other travel providers as well. If in doubt, it never hurts to ask!

Travel news and stories

Speaking of serene, I snapped this flying into Munich earlier this month. Can never get enough of the scenery on that approach.

MUC approach

A couple of quick deal notes

You can earn up to 100,000 bonus American AAdvantage miles for qualifying roundtrip flights between North America and Europe.

There’s a similar offer for earning bonus British Airways Avios although this one excludes Mexico.

Don’t forget to register first.

The catch with these is the flight needs to be in full-fare economy or higher. (If you’re unsure which fares qualify, the T&Cs specify which fare classes do.)

So these promos could work well for business travel if your employer buys such fares; not so much if you’re looking at discounted fares.

Enjoy the holiday weekend!

May 23 2014

Choice Hotels Summer Promotion: 8,000 Points After 2 Stays

Choice brands

Choice Hotels’ summer promotion is out. It’s a decent promotion, albeit mostly similar to past promotions they’ve run.

The promotion

It’s advertised as “earn a $50 gift card” after two qualifying stays. In reality, what you would earn is 8,000 Choice Privileges points which can be redeemed for a $50 gift card. (Participating gift cards include Amazon, Macy’s, and several gas stations and restaurants.)

Some other terms:

  • Must register in advance.
  • Qualifying stays must have arrival dates between May 22 and August 20, 2014.
  • For certain brands (Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn, Suburban, and MainStay Suites) a qualifying stay must be a minimum of two consecutive nights.
  • Redeem points for the gift card by September 30, 2014.

Be sure to read the full details and T&Cs on the website.

 

Choice Priv banner

Analysis

Depending on your preferences, you might be better off redeeming your points for a free night rather than the gift card.

Since reward nights start at 6,000 points, earning 8,000 points after two stays is not bad – especially if your stays are at properties with cheap rates. (Eyeballing it, I saw that most rates are below $100/night and a fair number are even below $60/night.)

A quirk of this promotion is that it sort of penalizes those who spend more money. The promotion doesn’t award a straight 8,000 bonus points after two stays. Rather, per the T&Cs, it awards “enough bonus points to reach the 8,000 point level.”

Normally you earn 10 points/$ at most of their hotels. So the “bonus” you earn with this promotion is just the difference between 8,000 points and the normally-earned points. The more you earn in normal points, the less you’ll get in bonus points.

As is often the case, the optimal “play” is to have your paid stays take place at properties with cheap rates.

(In prior similar promotions they said you would earn at least 5,000 bonus points, but I didn’t see that in the verbiage this time around.)

Additional tips

If you’re not already a member of the Choice Privileges loyalty program, have an existing member refer you. You’ll each receive 500 points after your first eligible stay. (I’m happy to refer if you shoot me a note through the contact form. I’ll need your first name and e-mail address for the referral form.)

Also check the promotions page of the main site as well as that of a specific hotel you’re considering for potentially combinable offers.

And if you have one, be sure to use a credit card that awards a bonus on hotel charges.

May 22 2014

Fare Deal Alert: NYC to Europe Under $150 OW, Los Angeles to Tokyo $370 OW

[Update: fare is now gone.]

I just booked a flight for under $370 from Los Angeles to Tokyo, with a stop of four days in Budapest along the way.

There are reports of fares below $150 originating from NYC.

This is likely a mistake fare that can die any minute and may or may not be honored, but I wanted to make others aware. Details are in this post and this thread.

As with all potential “mistake” fares:

  • DO NOT CALL the airlines or booking sites while the deal is still live as that will kill it prematurely.
  • Do not book other non-refundable arrangements (hotels, return flights, etc.) until it is confirmed the fare will be honored.
  • If the fare isn’t honored don’t get upset; just move on to the next deal. 🙂

This being a book-now-think-later situation, I haven’t figured out how I will get home but most likely it will be using miles (an award ticket on American starts at 25,000 miles). And if I have a complete change of heart, the airfare was booked via Priceline which provides a full refund up to 11:30pm ET the day after booking, so I’ll just be out a $7 processing fee.

(Thanks to Mighty Travels.)

Category: Deals | LEAVE A COMMENT
May 21 2014

La Quinta Inns & Suites Launches Room Availability App

This month, La Quinta Inns & Suites launched an interesting service that I hope competitors will soon imitate.

The hotel chain’s Ready for You™ app allows guests to indicate their arrival time and, on the day of arrival, receive an alert informing them the moment their room is ready.

LQ app

I haven’t had opportunity to try the service since La Quinta properties don’t fit well with my travel patterns, but I think the concept is great. When I have a red-eye flight, I often find myself pleading with a hotel to let me check in early – sometimes by as much as 6 or 7 hours before the published check in time.

While La Quinta doesn’t seem to promise that your desired check in time will be accommodated, it’s helpful to have this “formal” avenue to facilitate the request and automatically receive an alert.

May 19 2014

Quick Deal Note: TUMI Luggage at Discounted Prices on Rue La La

Flash sale site Rue La La has items from my favorite luggage brand, TUMI, available at discounted prices.

While I’m unable to thoroughly compare prices at the moment, I did a quick spot check. The Vapor continental carry-on is offered at $299 by Rue La La…

TUMI Ruelala

…and at the same time for $495 at Amazon:

TUMI Amazon

The Rue La La event ends in 2 ½ days, but popular items usually sell out quickly.  Note that shipping is $9.95 (once that is paid you’ll get free shipping for the next 30 days).

You do need a membership to shop, but signup is free and quick. An existing member can also refer you (they’d earn a $10 credit after your first order).

Category: Deals | LEAVE A COMMENT
May 19 2014

Quick Travel Tip: Keep a Packing List on Your Computer

Ever arrive at your destination and realize you’ve forgotten to pack a crucial item?

To avert the problem, I keep a things-to-pack list on my computer and pull it up each time I pack. Having been tweaked and refined over the years, it’s now a pretty comprehensive list and I haven’t forgotten an item in years (knock on wood).

Cklist

If you don’t already have one, feel free to use the one below as a starting point in building your own packing list.

  • Bathing suit
  • Bath products
  • Beach bag
  • Belt
  • Boarding pass
  • Business cards
  • Camera (w/ charger, batteries, SD cards)
  • Cash (including foreign currency if applicable)
  • Cell phone (w/ charger & headset)
  • Clothes
  • Comb & hairbrush
  • Contact lenses (w/ solution & case)
  • Cotton swabs
  • Credit & ATM cards
  • Dental floss
  • Deodorant
  • Driver’s license
  • Earplugs
  • Electricity adapter or converter
  • Eye drops (airplanes can get arid)
  • Facial cleanser
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Gear and sports equipment
  • Gifts
  • Glasses
  • Gloves
  • Guide books (I get e-books to avoid lugging a real book)
  • Hair accessories & styling products
  • Hand lotion
  • Hat
  • Headphones (for in-flight movies)
  • Health insurance card
  • Itinerary & reservations for flights/hotels/trains/etc. (tip: email a copy to yourself & to someone at home; see my tips for keeping important documents electronically accessible)
  • Jacket/sweater (even in hot destinations, I keep something handy for fiercely air-conditioned places)
  • Laptop & charger
  • Lip balm
  • Makeup & applicators
  • Maps
  • Medications (also have copies of the prescriptions, whether on paper or electronically)
  • Moisturizer, eye cream, etc.
  • Money belt
  • Motion sickness remedies (Sea-Band, patches, etc.)
  • Nail clippers
  • Passport & visas (and extra copies & official photos as suggested here)
  • Pen
  • Pajamas
  • Plastic bags (these come in handy in all kinds of unexpected ways)
  • Razor & shaving cream
  • Safety pin (another item that comes in handy in all kinds of unexpected ways)
  • Shoes
  • Sleep mask
  • Snacks (tip: PowerBars pack well)
  • Socks
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Tablet & charger
  • Tickets (buses, trains, attractions, events, etc.)
  • Tissues (in some areas, toilet paper isn’t readily available in public restrooms!)
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Travel insurance policy
  • Umbrella
  • Undergarments
  • Wallet
  • Water bottle (tip: wide-mouthed ones are easier to wash)

Leave a comment to let me know if I missed something!

Category: Tips | LEAVE A COMMENT
May 17 2014

Weekend Roundup of Travel News & Deals

I hope everyone’s having a great weekend. After three red-eye flights in the span of six days last week, I’m catching up on sleep this weekend!

This is what a bustling airport looks like in the middle of the night, by the way.

EWR
Newark Liberty around 4:00 AM

Anyhow, here are a few travel stories and deals for your weekend fix.

News and stories

Alaska Airlines award sale

If you have Alaska miles to spend on travel this fall, save 5,000 miles each way to and from select Mexico destinations. Coach fares start at 12,500 miles each way, a ~29% savings from the usual rate of 17,500. (Book by May 25, travel between September 1 and November 18, 2014.)

Alaska award sale

New Amex Sync deals

Finally, there are new Amex Sync offers I thought I’d mention.

(If you’re unfamiliar with these offers, see my post about the American Express Sync campaign for details and instructions.)

  • Abt Electronics – spend $250+ get $25 (exp. June 16, 2014) register via Facebook
  • Bowlmor – spend $100+ get $20 (exp. July 3, 2014) #AmexBowlmor
  • Cathay Pacific – spend $2,000+ get $200 (exp. July 31, 2014, must book via link specified in offer) #AmexCathay
  • Delivery.com – spend $25+ get $5 (exp. June 1, 2014) #AmexDelivery
  • Katsuya – spend $50+ get $10 (exp. June 30, 2014) register via Facebook
  • Kenneth Cole – spend $150+ get $50 (exp. July 18, 2014) register via Facebook
  • Personal Creations – spend $49+ get $15 (exp. May 31, 2014) register via Facebook
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor Int’l Airport Parking – spend $40+ get $10 (exp. June 30, 2014) #AmexPHXAirport
  • Potbelly Sandwich Shop – spend $10+ get $2 (exp. July 6, 2014) #AmexPotbelly
  • Spafinder – spend $150+ get $25 (exp. May 31, 2014) register via Facebook
  • Victorinox – spend $150+ get $30 (exp. June 30, 2014, valid in-store only) #AmexVictorinox
  • Wayfair – spend $150+ get $30 (exp. June 28, 2014) use promo code AMEX2014

If you missed my prior posts with other Amex Sync deals (some of them still valid at this writing), they are here and here.

Enjoy the weekend!

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